Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Introducing Chic 3D Printed Patterned Paint Rollers

ST Medical Devices

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Looking for a way to kick some surfaces into high gear? Then check out these patterned paint rollers that take hand painting up a notch. The way they work is by integrating a traditional paint roller with a cylinder covered in raised and repeating shapes. The roller is filled with paint and the cylinder picks the paint up as it rolls past.

Et voila – tres chic!

f0db4528910483.55d8879bd9ec4We have designer Matthijs Kok, a product designer from Amsterdam, to thank for this clever creation. Kok, an admitted Pintrest addict, is always on the search for new ideas in design and especially those that he can combine with 3D printing technology.

In an interview with, Kok explained his creative inspiration for this project:

“I’m always looking for new ideas to combine with 3D print. Next to product design, I’m very inspired by architecture, photography, and graphic design. For this collection, I was looking for a 3D printable DIY project. Modern geometric patterns are a big trend now, especially in interior design. So, all of this started to fall in place and I started with the idea of DIY pattern painting, stencils, and patterned rollers.”

9e3cce28910483.55d8818a456fcCylinder printing is a method for laying down large expanses of patterns that has been in use in the creation of wallpaper since at least the early 18th century. However, those cylinders were either metal or wood and were engraved and then inked. The creation of these wallpaper rollers was an improvement in production over the previous technique of either hand painting or hand blocking sections. Now, of course, the cylinder printing method has been supplemented and sometimes supplanted by other technologies, but even when it was the only method for production, it was still never something that could have been considered a DIY project since machinery, the cylinders, and the paper required a great deal of investment in machinery and expertise.

772b9128910483.55d8818a485eaAll that has changed with Kok’s creation, where paint is applied to raised surfaces and then stamped, albeit in a rolling fashion, along a length of surface as easily as using a paint roller. Once Kok had the initial idea, he set about experimenting with different designs and a variety of ways of creating the rolling mechanism.

“For this project, I think I designed and modeled around 20 different rollers,” Kok explained. “I made the final selection based on the widest variety I could create. While these four are different from each other, they are very sophisticated as a set. With these kinds of designs, I hope to inspire others to design and customize their own rollers and I am having so much fun with the project that I plan on making additional rollers in the near future.”

What has allowed Kok to make that change is access to 3D modeling software, such as Solidworks and 3DS Max, and 3D printing, something that allows him to create quickly and with minimal financial investment. It doesn’t hurt that he is a product design student and a freelance designer at 3D Systems and has access to a bevy of 3D Systems’ machines. Keeping in mind, however, that not everybody has that luxury and since he is aiming at the consumer market, he designed these rollers to print on the Cube 3 and the Cube Pro.

e8cb8728910483.55d8818a46e5aThe rollers and the handles are completely 3D printed and the only other piece you need is a 10cm wide sponge foam paint roller, available in any hobby shop or online, usually for around one dollar. But just because the sponge is inexpensive doesn’t mean that Kok cut corners and created a cheap product.

“I tested the product myself and made corrections and adjustments until I had a perfectly working 3D printed product. I prefer to print at a high quality, especially for 3D printed objects that are reusable and definitely worth the wait. A roller in 70 microns takes about eight hours to print, so if you started the print before you went to school or work, you could start your painting job at the end of the day,” he told us.

I can already think of a dozen interesting projects that could be created with these rollers and hopefully they will someday lead to the end of the horrible sponge painting epidemic that seemed to plague so many walls in homes across America. By varying the type of paint that is used – e.g., chalkboard, textile, metallic, magnetic – the number of project possibilities expands even further.

0310db28910483.55d8818a44416If you’ve been putting off painting because you’re having too much fun with your 3D printer, this just might be the perfect project. The rollers are available as free downloads through Kok’s website.

Is a patterned wall in your future? Let us know if you’ll be printing your own painting apparatus in the 3D Printed Patterned Paint Rollers forum thread over at We’d love to see your results!



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